MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Vigilante justice on Biscayne Boulevard.
Drivers involved in a multi-vehicle crash on NE 36th Street and Biscayne Boulevard on Sunday jumped into action as a driver of an SUV tried to leave the scene.
When the SUV driver hit the gas, several of the other drivers ran to it and tried to stop it from leaving.
The police were called and the driver of the SUV was able to get away with two men chasing it. It didn’t get far before another SUV blocked its path.
When the driver of the SUV refused to get out, the men tried to open one of its doors. They then moved to the driver’s side and started banging on the window.
“I understand the frustration, especially if their car was crashed into,” said Commander Freddie Cruz with Miami Police.
Another man then emerged from a van with a hammer and started smashing the SUV’s windows.
The driver of the SUV was finally able to get away. Miami police found the driver, identified as Matthew Lagutenko, a short time later and made an arrest a short time later.
Authorities were quick to warn against the kind of actions that took place during this potentially deadly situation.
“You do not know if this individual was armed,” Cruz warned. “If he did have a weapon, he would have got out of the car and started shooting people up.”
Lagutenko has been charged with reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, and fleeing police.
Investigators say it was Lagutenko who caused the accident when he crossed the median on Biscayne Boulevard and crashed into several oncoming cars as he drove north in the southbound lane.
When police finally caught up with him, they said he appeared to be high on narcotics.
An investigation is ongoing as authorities wait for drug test results.
As for the hammer-wielding man from the white van, Cmdr. Cruz says, “…at this moment he is not in any trouble.”